Child care rating requirement could lead to fewer options for families

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Thousands of families that receive child care services through Franklin County may have to find other care options if the centers don’t become star rated.

The Ohio legislature is requiring all child care providers that receive state and county dollars to be star rated by 2020.

In 2016, 23,000 children in Franklin County received publicly funded child care, but a new policy that will be put in place by 2020 will raise the bar for these centers and their families.

Little Gems Learning Place child care center in South Linden prepares preschoolers for kindergarten. A new state and county required policy will make sure children continue to get a quality education.

“Come July 1st, 2020, if a family is receiving publicly funded child care assistance to help pay for childcare they will have to go to a rated center,” said Eric Karolak, CEO of Action for Children.

This policy will rank child care centers and home-child care services that are partially or fully funded by the county and state on a one-through-five star system.

“We did an analysis and found that only 16-percent of our home-based centers are step up to quality certified.” Child care centers have a 24-percent star rating,” said Joy Bivens, Director of Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services.

Nearly 500 child care providers are not star rated in Franklin County. Under the new policy, they must receive at least one star to continue to provide services to those assisted families. To become star-rated half of the staff must have a child development associate certification.

“Parents choose our center sometimes based on that we do have a star,” said Samantha Carter, Director of Little Gems Learning Place.

Little Gems Harambe is in the process of becoming star rated. Carter’s second center on the northeast side already received its star this year. If centers do not become star-rated by July 1st, 2020.

“We will have over 10,000 children in our community that will not receive care,” said Franklin County Commissioner, Marilyn Brown.

More information  on Step Up to Quality STAR Programs http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/docs/SUTQMainBrochure.stm

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